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mini location map2014-10-18
20 by photographer avatarsbkelley
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Cheops PlateauNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 18 2014
Hiking24.00 Miles 8,000 AEG
Hiking24.00 Miles   15 Hrs   30 Mns   1.55 mph
8,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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What a day! Wondering where all the time went, but it was well-spent. We left SK just after 6 am and took a relaxed pace down, eyeing the objective as we went. The hike up to Utah Flats was a good toaster oven: the sweat was pouring on the steep climb, making Richard and I glad we had 4 liters apiece!

Cheops is a great climb, and had a bit of everything. We ended up taking a more direct route up the slope than the posted route from the Utah Flats trail, but all routes meet at the base of the cliff. The traverse at the cliff's base looks ridiculous from below, but is no sweat to the Cheops-Isis ridge. The ridge is great fun, with solid holds and absolutely amazing vistas everywhere. My reaction the famed exposed move was this: if you're on it, it's not bad. Watching someone else do it? It was almost too hard to watch!

On the Plateau, I enjoyed a Santan Oktoberfest to celebrate my 200th Arizona summit while the other two contemplated going for the traverse to the Pyramid. I knew well ahead of time I would have nothing to do with that project, but Eric and Richard brought a rope, webbing, and some rap rings. They went down to the first steep step and decided today was not the day to dance with that knife edge. So they got a good weight training hike in!

The descent together went smoothly, and we found ourselves back on the Utah Flats Trail just after 2 pm. But, to add some adventure to the day, Eric and Richard really, really, wanted to go back to Phantom Ranch via Phantom Creek. Those of you who know me realize how "excited" I was about wading/swimming through pools for 3 hours with no sunlight to warm me up, but I sucked it up! The creek, I must admit, was a beautiful route. After we went down the fixed rope, the upper third of the canyon was very scenic (camera was in a drybag). The middle third was more open and involved some tiring rock-hopping and bushwhacking, but the final third didn't disappoint. We encountered 4-5 swimmers and some slides, and many a frog and toad. Tired, we rolled into Phantom Ranch around 5:30, tanked up, and started the slog up South Kaibab. Ran out of light at the Tipoff, and it was one foot in front of the other until the cooler waiting on the rim.

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